Hi Jodi,

We implemented Archon at the University of Miami ( about a year and a half ago
and have been quite pleased with it.  It provides a simple form-based
interface for the creation of DACS-compliant finding aids, allows for the
automatic publication of these to the web, and facilitates the easy export
of records in EAD and MARC format.

I would say that Archon's strength is in providing a low-cost, easily
implemented turnkey technical infrastructure for archives.  With its
collection record forms, it allows staff to focus on crafting good finding
aids rather than worrying about the slings and arrows of well-formed XML.
 The search and retrieval piece is there, but is fairly basic and is not the
main focus of the system.  The search function, for example, conducts
full-text search across certain indexed fields.  It does not allow you to
limit your search by field, although you can browse by certain categories.

While Archon provides a simple, easily-implementable technical framework for
authoring and publishing finding aids to the web, it is not for everyone.
 It was a good choice for us because we were not yet EAD implementors when
we adopted it.  Archon is built around the concept of DACS-compliant
collection records, and EAD is one of its export formats;  however, EAD is
not the native format of Archon finding aid records.

Archon stores its records in a database which does not currently support the
round-tripping of EAD records, and we have found that using Archon's EAD
import script (which can be tweaked and improved) to bring EAD finding aids
into Archon often results in the loss of data and the subsequent need for
revision of finding aid records in the Archon system.  Other institutions in
Florida who have been implementing EAD for years have been reluctant to
adopt Archon for this very reason, despite the advantages of its interface
and the ability the system affords to easily publish newly created or
altered finding aids to the web.

My concern in browsing your NWDA is that if you switched to Archon you would
lose some of the search capabilities your current system has.  If you are
seriously considering Archon as a search and retrieval system, I would also
recommend that you import a sample of your own EAD records into a test
instance of Archon to see how well they import into the system's native

I hope this helps,


On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM, Jodi Allison-Bunnell <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi all:
> The consortium program that I manage, Northwest Digital Archives, is
> considering a change in its search and retrieval software as part of a
> revision to our technical infrastructure. I have gathered some information
> on what other consortia use and would like to hear from other EAD
> implementors.
> If you use one of the systems below, or something else, it would be most
> helpful if you could share your experience with the system. This could
> include price (if commercial), ease of set-up and maintenance, existence of
> user groups (particularly within the library-archives world), end user
> feedback, and anything else that you could share with me and/or the list.
> Here are the systems I have identified so far:
> Ixiasoft's TEXTml
> Mark Logic XML database
> ExLibris DigiTool
> Cocoon/Lucene
> Solr/Lucene
> Archon
> Thanks in advance for any information that you can share.
> Best, Jodi
> Jodi Allison-Bunnell
> Program Manager, Northwest Digital Archives
> Orbis Cascade Alliance
> 418 Woodford
> Missoula, MT 59801
> [log in to unmask]
> (406) 829-6528
> fax (860) 540-8281
> Researcher website:
> Member website:


Kyle Rimkus

Digital Projects Librarian

University of Miami Libraries

Otto G. Richter Library
1300 Memorial Drive

Coral Gables, FL 33146